On Wednesday we saw the end of The Great British Bake Off, and as much as that show brightens up my day, it makes you crave cake like crazy. The only way to remedy that was to bake something to eat during the final, but as I’ve been ill all week it had to be something simple, and that’s where this light but buttery bake comes in. Like a Victoria sponge, but with a fresh cream filling and slight tart sweetness from the elderflower, this is just enough of a twist on a very easy bake to make people think you’re a little less lazy than you actually are.
Simple Raspberry Elderflower Cake
The things you will need:
For the cake:
175g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
175g caster sugar
175g plain flour
a pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 eggs (medium or large)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
100ml elderflower cordial
For the filling:
150ml double cream
45ml elderflower cordial
1/2 a vanilla pod
good quality raspberry jam
icing or caster sugar to dust
Preheat the oven to 180°C (that’s gas mark 4, or 160°C if you have a fan oven). Grease two 20cm round cake tins with butter or margarine, and line the bottoms with baking parchment.
I use Wilton tins, as the cake easily comes out of the tin because of the parchment, but if you prefer you can use loose-bottom or spring-form tins.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder.
Add a third of the dry mix and one egg to the butter and sugar and stir to combine. Repeat until all of the flour and eggs are incorporated, then stir in the vanilla extract and milk.
If you used medium eggs, you may need to use a touch more milk depending on how thick your batter is.
Divide the batter between the two tins and bake for around 15 – 20 minutes, or until the cakes are golden brown and beginning to shrink away from the sides of the tin. 15 minutes is usually enough, but check with a clean knife or skewer in the centre of the cake – if it comes away clean, it’s done!
Let the cakes cool in the tins for 5 minutes before turning them out onto a rack – they should be springy to the touch and any domed top should have evened out.
Remove the parchment, and on the underside of each cake, drizzle over the elderflower cordial. 100ml is more than enough and will make for a very sweet, denser sponge with a strong elderflower flavour; for something a bit more subtle and light, use only 50ml of cordial over the two cakes. Leave to cool.
Just before assembling your cake, split your vanilla pod down the middle with a sharp knife, and use the edge of the blade to scrape out the inside. Add this to the cream and 45ml elderflower cordial and whisk together until just thick enough to spread.
If you over-whip, the cream will start to separate and clump and this can happen not at all and then all at once with an electric whisk, so this step is much easier with a good old-fashioned wire whisk. It’s best not to make this cream just when it is needed, as the cordial and cream can separate in the fridge if left to wait.
To assemble, slather a few good tablespoons of a good quality raspberry jam on one cake half. Dollop your cream on top and spread out, then top with the other cake layer. Dust the surface with icing sugar for a pretty finish, or caster sugar for a more traditional look.
(strawberry jam also works very well with elderflower, as would any slightly tart but sweet fruit; you can make your own jam in a saucepan with ~200g of fruit, caster sugar to taste up to 100g, and a squeeze of lemon, but make sure this is at room temperature before adding).
Eat! This is a cake best gobbled soon after baking with a cup of tea, as it can’t be left at room temperature or the fresh cream will turn, and can only be kept in the fridge for a few days in an airtight container before the sponge goes stale.
Recipe adapted from Ruby Tandoh’s ‘Crumb’
A simple entry from me today as I’m still pretty ill, but at least I have cake…
Until next time